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Health Matters - Look after yourself to fight off colds this Winter

Dr Paul Bowen, Clinical Chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, and GP with McIlvride Medical Practice

Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health but did you know that advice is available about how to ‘Stay well this Winter’.

A cure for the common cold has not been discovered between last winter and this winter and our GP surgeries will receive hundreds of calls each week asking for treatment for sore throats, coughs and colds.  But do you know that most sore throats, coughs and colds will clear up in one to two weeks, and the best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration?

You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary (ask your pharmacist for advice).

Eat well – Strengthen your immune system through good nutrition. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables can help you to support your overall health.

Help to prevent germs from spreading - wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, as well as regularly cleaning surfaces such as your computer keyboard, telephone and door handles to get rid of germs, using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and putting used tissues in a bin as soon as possible.

Get your flu jab - The flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS for anyone over the age of 65, pregnant women, children and adults with an underlying health condition and, children and adults with weakened immune systems.  A flu vaccine nasal spray is also offered to healthy children aged two and three, and to children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four.

Free advice about how to stay healthy is also available at nhs.uk/staywell. This is a great way to discover how to stay well, with information which ranges from how to keep warm to treating common winter illnesses.

Self-care is one of the options we promote in our annual Stay Well This Winter, Choose Well and Think Pharmacy campaigns, which give people the information they need to get well quickly by choosing the right service at the right time.

But encouraging self-care does not mean that you shouldn’t seek medical advice if you feel you have reason to be concerned.

Seven Steps to Self Care